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Subject: The Card Gamer: Biblios rss

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David Marie
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Biblios is a 2-4 player auction card game from Iello. The setting is the middle ages and you play the part of an abbot looking to acquire the finest inks, holy books and manuscripts. Your goal is to use your limited amount of gold to create the most exquisite collection sure to make the other abbots jealous.

In the box you get:



87 cards - There are three types of cards in the deck:



Gold - these are your currency used to purchase the books and manuscripts



Colored cards - these are your 5 different colored cards (what you'll be trying to collect in sets)



Church cards - these let you manipulate the point value for each of the colors.



5 six-sided dice - These are used to keep track of how much each color is worth



1 Scriptorium - These are where you place the dice.


Gameplay:

Each game has two phases:



Phase 1 Gifting - In turn order you take a set number of cards (one more than the number of players) and look at them one at a time. There are three ways to distribute cards in the gifting phase:

1. You keep 1 card for yourself
2. You put 1 card in the auction pile
3. You may place a certain number face up in the player pool (depending on number of players)

*everyone gets a card each turn
*you may place cards in any order you like
*you must place a card before you reveal another




Phase 2 Auction - When the gifting phase is over (all cards have been allocated) you move on to the auction phase. Shuffle the auction pile and in turn order reveal the top card and begin your auction.

Your trying to collect the sets of colored cards that are worth the most points. Once the auction pile is depleted you go to the end game scoring. The players who have the highest value of cards in a color will win the die of that color (and score the points the die is worth). The player that wins the die/dice with the highest score wins the game.

Thoughts:

My game group loves Biblios. It is one of the most requested games and it is always played at least twice in a row. As soon as someone finishes their first game and they see how scoring actually works they usually want to play again. One of my favorite aspects of the game is that it scales from 2-4. You will not find many auction games that play well with two (Palazzo is another off hand) . You may see some that claim to have 2 player support on the box, but most need at least 3 to be any fun.



The gifting phase is pretty strange at first. It's probably the most complicated mechanic in the game. You only look at one card at a time and then decide where your going to place it so it's basically a push your luck mechanic. So on a turn you might see a decent card and pass over taking it for yourself thinking you might get something even better, and then just totally miss out when that last card is a bust and you HAVE to take it. I really wasn't sure I liked the gifting phase at first but eventually it started to make me laugh when I was forced to give away great cards, and i loved taking great cards from people who cried in horror when they knew they were giving me a high value card for nothing.



New players usually ignore the church cards and that is a huge mistake when playing with someone who has a few games under their belt. As letting one person win all of these is a great way to lose in Biblios. Church cards are extremely important and can be the key to a victory if you can win them late in the auction, or if you can put a color you have from the gifting phase two or three points ahead of all the others early in the game. As with most auction games you will probably have to help a new player bid correctly because as we all know, one player can ruin an auction game by over or under valuing an item.



It's a great auction game for new gamers. The shiny artwork and unique box make for a lot of eye candy which really seems to generate curiosity when people catch sight of it. The colorful dice and the included dice board show that a lot of money was put into making Biblios. The way the cards and dice fit into the molded case is fantastic and the Scriptorium (dice board) is not necessary but it is very nice to have. The coolest part is how the whole package looks like a book. It may sound trivial but a nice and well thought out set of components can really make your game stand out. Gamers really appreciate when companies go that extra step and make a product unique. So I would have to say that Biblios is a classy production with fantastic presentation and the game is pretty fun as well. Recommended.




Troll tip:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
If you really want to win against a Biblios newb just buy all the negative church cards to make brown and blue worthless and collect a good amount of the orange and red cards and like one or two green. You'll probably win at least two and possibly three colors. Plus you'll be a big JERK.



To see the video review CLICK HERE





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Yours Truly,
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There must have been a moment at the beginning, where we could have said no. Somehow we missed it. Well, we'll know better next time.
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Nicely laid out review.
You might want to hide the strategy spoilers for those who want to discover the strategy on their own (something about "Churches" in the middle that I quickly skipped over once I realized you were strategy-talking, and then the thing at the end).
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Ron Z
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JohnnyDollar wrote:
Nicely laid out review.
You might want to hide the strategy spoilers for those who want to discover the strategy on their own (something about "Churches" in the middle that I quickly skipped over once I realized you were strategy-talking, and then the thing at the end).


+1. I don't feel strategy tips belong in a review.
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David Marie
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*Edited for spoiler info
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Warren Colegrave
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I quite liked Biblios, but I recently bought Scipts and Scribes (same designer, very similar game concept but with open information and dice instead of cards). For me, S&S has "Jones Theoried" Biblios (for non-Dice Tower Listeners: made it redundant to have both games). For me, and for those who I play with, S&S won out due to faster playtime, 5 players, second place prizes in each category. I personally like the open information offered in S&S as opposed to the hidden accumulation and game-end reveal in Biblios.
 
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Yours Truly,
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Raleigh
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There must have been a moment at the beginning, where we could have said no. Somehow we missed it. Well, we'll know better next time.
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wcolegrave wrote:
I quite liked Biblios, but I recently bought Scipts and Scribes (same designer, very similar game concept but with open information and dice instead of cards). For me, S&S has "Jones Theoried" Biblios (for non-Dice Tower Listeners: made it redundant to have both games). For me, and for those who I play with, S&S won out due to faster playtime, 5 players, second place prizes in each category. I personally like the open information offered in S&S as opposed to the hidden accumulation and game-end reveal in Biblios.


I thought Scripts & Scribes and Biblios were identical except for art. And dice instead of cards? What? Biblios & S&S both use dice in the same way.

Oh it just occurred to me, maybe you're thinking of Scripts & Scribes: The Dice Game? (Which is different than Scripts & Scribes, the originally published title of Biblios)
 
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David Marie
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I really want to try Scripts & Scribes TDG sometime soon. It looks like a fantastic translation. Thanks for the insight Warren.
 
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Kathy Sheets
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Nice review of Biblios!

S&S Dice seems like a totally different game to me. We've been having a lot of fun with it.

 
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Warren Colegrave
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Sorry - I meant S&S the dice game. Don't get me wrong - I liked Biblios enough, but I sold it after playing 3 games of S&S: TDG. Scratched the same itch, but one scratched it much better for me and my group.
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